GLAAD Goes Global With New U.K. Initiative

Having played a role in a series of victories for the LGBT community in the United States, GLAAD has announced a new presence in the United Kingdom, which it says will serve as a springboard for expanded advocacy work around the world.

GLAAD has been a prominent voice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues for decades in this country, focusing on improving how community members are portrayed in the media and the broader culture. But with the global community growing ever more connected, GLAAD has announced its expanded vision for international inclusiveness.

In addition to dedicating more than $1 million to its growing international program, GLAAD will establish a branch in the United Kingdom with a full-time employee.

“For 30 years, GLAAD has worked to reshape the way Americans think about LGBT people, building understanding through visibility and increasing acceptance across the nation,” President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “Now, as LGBT people around the world continue to face great injustice, GLAAD is expanding its global footprint to support the tremendous work of LGBT activists across the globe.”

GLAAD started off by hosting a conversation with 22 U.K.-based advocacy leaders to get their firsthand perspective on the LGBT community’s needs in the U.K. and on how best to collaborate with popular British media outlets like the BBC and The Guardian, as well as with nontraditional types of media.

crossing borders

And though the U.K. will get plenty of attention from GLAAD, it’s just the first of many international initiatives the organization plans to launch.

“This is a timely and vital step forward to bring GLAAD’s critical work to the international community in a meaningful and powerful way,” board member Anthony Watson said in a statement. “As a British citizen, I am deeply proud GLAAD chose the United Kingdom to base our international operations. From London, GLAAD will be able to help promote positive portrayals of LGBT people in the media—not only across the U.K. but across Europe and further afield.”

The organization cited two campaigns as examples of its international work: its support for activists during Ireland’s marriage-equality referendum and its effort to make FIFA discourage the use of LGBT slurs at the 2014 World Cup.

Along with the opening of its U.K. branch, GLAAD announced that it will expand its Spirit Day campaign, which takes place October 15, to include London-specific initiatives. And its Spirit Day resource kits will be available in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, and Mandarin for the first time.

(Image: GLAAD)

Morgan Little

By Morgan Little

Morgan Little is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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